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Ski Resorts in Fairbanks-area make changes to operations this season

Published: Dec. 3, 2020 at 7:03 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - With a recent addition of snow and warmer-than-normal temperatures, powder heads in Interior, Alaska are ready to hit the slopes. As the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect communities, local resorts are making changes to their daily operations to ensure ski and snowboarders alike have a chance to tear up the mountains.

Ski Land Resort

The big day for Ski Land is Friday, December 4, as they open the slopes to the public for the first time this season. The resort, about 20 miles north of Fairbanks, will be open four days a week this year, Friday-Monday. Most lodges will be open, excluding the upper lodge. Ski Land is encouraging participants to change their gear and eat lunch at home, outside or in their vehicles. Face coverings are mandatory when inside a lodge, in the ticket line, lift maze or when social distancing is not an option. Skiers and snowboarders are asked to only do so with members of their family or group, while staying at least six feet away from others while on the mountain. The chairlift will be in operation with ‘doubles’ and ‘singles’ rides available. The doubles lane will be for those who rode up to the mountain together or are from the same household, while the single line is for those who came to the mountain by themselves. Ski Land will be open on Fridays and Mondays from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., as well as Saturday and Sundays from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. More information can be found on skilandfairbanks.com

Moose Mountain

Overlooking the Tanana Valley and the Alaska Range, Moose Mountain opened its trails recently, but not in traditional form. Moose Mountain will not offer bus transportation this year, which was how participants reached the top of the slope in previous years. Only skinning (synthetic skins on the bottom of the skis to climb up a hill) and hiking passes are available to reach the top of Moose Mountain, which reaches 1,300 vertical feet. If arrangements are made, skiers and snowboarders can still enjoy over three feet of powder that they have received on the mountain so far this year. The lodge will be closed and they won’t be offering rentals or beginner rope tow. Masks are required at the base of the mountain and in the parking areas. Hours of operation and more information on shredding Moose Mountain can be found on their website.

Birch Hill Ski and Snowboard Area

Birch Hill, located on Fort Wainwright Military Base, has been open and operating for those who live on base and for those who can gain access. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become increasingly difficult to receive a visitor’s pass on base. The Ft. Wainwright Morale, Welfare and Recreation department is referring those interested in a visitor’s pass to the U.S. Army Garrison Alaska website. In addition to skiing and snowboarding, they offer tubing as well. According to Birch Hill Ski and Snowboard Area, they have been selling out their tubing sessions quite often. Tubing takes place in the morning and early afternoon with a 60-pass limit. Skiing and snowboarding follows, with an 80-pass limit. The chairlift in inoperable as it is undergoing maintenance. With the teardown of the old lodge, a new lodge is still under construction. However, a warming hut as been put in its place. More information on the bunny hill, tubing hill and terrain park can be found here.

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